Sunday, June 26, 2011

Facing Different Challenges

c2011 (S)

When I read different blog posts, there is often a temptation to go into the comments and contradict the writer, or even to 'explain what they're saying.' But the information we seek depends upon our goals, first and foremost, and secondly on our circumstances.

I have never been published by a traditional or legacy publisher. I do not have a backlist, or any previous sales numbers, favourable reviews, or any cadre of loyal fans, followers or readers. What I have is a front-list of three unpublished books, a poetry collection, and a major 'work in progress.'

In the sense that I suffer from the same general angst as any writer, and some of those more specific to independent or self-published artists in any genre, I would prefer not to get into it more than I have to. Some subjects are more hot-button controversial than others. Am I really contributing anything?

What I would counsel or caution other 'writers in the same boat' is this: determine which information it is that you require, and then try to figure out where to get that information. If I'm not submitting to 'brick and mortar publishers,' and have no intention of doing so, what do I need to know about publishing contracts? Ah, but if I do want to do that, why not read up on them? Only then do you require the data.

It's that simple. When I got paranoid about my grammar, I went and looked it up.

Every so often I read a favourite writer's blog, get a few simple lessons in the craft, and then I polish up my work. Stephen King doesn't need to read that blog. I do, and it helps, and maybe I'm not so insecure now!

If I go to submit a manuscript to a publisher, the first thing I want to do is research that publisher. (The second thing, is to figure out if I really am committed to it. I would challenge myself with questions long before submitting.)

Top-selling authors face one set of challenges, mid-list authors out of a contract face another set of challenges, debut authors who are thinking primarily in terms of print and ink with traditional publishers face certain challenges. What might work in a general sense for one group might not work at all for another group.

The challenge is to identify goals and implement well-conceived strategies that bring them into effect. That takes appropriate data, and appropriate decision-making; i.e. some kind of logical thought processes.

My challenge is to acquire data that is relevant to specific challenges, and other than that, it's for the sake of interest, or keeping up with general changes and trends in the industry.

Circumstances and goals define challenges, which helps to identify the required information. It's a filter, and a very specific one.

What we share in common is our working environment, and these are interesting times.

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